Roads hurt by area's energy traffic

Commissioners look to DOLA for grant to maintain roads

Also

A funny thing happened on the way to the Department of Local Affairs hearing:

County officials were not alone at the DOLA office in Westcliffe.

Representatives from the city of Craig, the Moffat County School District and Craig Fire/Rescue also were present.

City officials requested $150,000 to match the city's $50,000 for demolition projects as part of the water plant upgrade process, public works director Bill Earley said.

The School District requested $100,000 from DOLA to match its own $100,000 for roof repairs at the Administration Building on Yampa Avenue. The building is the district's highest community usage building, finance director Mark Rydberg said.

Craig Fire/Rescue asked for money to put toward obtaining two Wildland/Urban Interface trucks, which are used to suppress fires in wildland areas that spread to structures, Deputy Chief Bill Johnston said.

Fire/Rescue asked for $275,000, which the department would match evenly. The advisory committee voted 4-2 for full funding, with the dissenters recommending "high-partial" funding.

The city and School District received unanimous votes for full funding.

Other action

At its Oct. 23 meeting, the Moffat County Commission:

• Signed a letter of support for the Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club to receive a grant for a new trail groomer.

• Signed a contract with Sav On Propane for the Dinosaur Road and Bridge shop.

• Signed an amended division order between Plains Marketing LP and the Museum of Northwest Colorado.

• Signed a form for Emergency Management Performance Grant/Local Emergency Management Support expenses reimbursement.

• Approved a personnel requisition for a part-time crisis intervention specialist, a previously existing position.

• Approved a personnel requisition for a part-time building inspector. This is a new position so the county will have someone when the current building inspector is out of the office. The Commission discussed expanding the role to have the person oversee some county building projects. Money for the position is available in the building inspector's budget.

— Between the oil and gas fields in Rio Blanco County and Wyoming, Moffat County sits poised for a lot of through traffic and not much else.

That heavy truck traffic tears up Moffat's roads, and without any proceeds to offset costs, the Moffat County Commission wants financial help.

So it was that commissioners Saed Tayyara and Tom Mathers, along with county budget analyst Tinneal Gerber and road and bridge manager Linda DeRose, traveled to Westcliffe, a small town roughly 60 miles west of Pueblo, and appeared before the Colorado Department of Local Affairs State Advisory Committee.

They went to ask DOLA for a matching funds energy impact grant to help Moffat County buy new heavy equipment for road maintenance.

"We have (what amounts to) interstate traffic in our county," Tayyara said after the Oct. 23 commissioners meeting. "We told (DOLA) that we just can't keep up with it."

The county offered to put in $845,000 and asked DOLA to contribute $1 million. The Commission could hear final word on how much DOLA will grant within two weeks.

"Whether it's a field in Wyoming, or a field in Rio Blanco, (the truckers and energy workers) drive through Moffat County," Mathers said. "I think we're impacted the most (of the three areas) because they get the revenue from the oil and gas.

"It's like an Oreo cookie. We're the soft spot in between."

Moffat's road maintenance vehicles have fallen into disrepair, Mathers said.

Until three years ago, the county had no system to replace old machinery. Now, there are vehicles the county must depend on that were first used in the 1960s and '70s.

The Commission now has a five-stage system to replace older equipment, Tayyara said. Each stage replaces some equipment as county funds are available.

If DOLA approves the grant, the county can move into stage three.

"We have a program to take care of and put the roads into shape," Tayyara said, "and to get equipment we can take care of and put into shape."

Moffat County prepared for the matching funds request last year by asking 27 of its departments to cut their budgets by 5 percent.

The Advisory Committee responded largely in favor of fully funding the county's $1 million request, though some panel members recommended partial funding.

Tayyara said he made some phone calls and felt "optimistic" about the funding request as of Tuesday's Commission meeting.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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